WIN! About as Gastropub as They Come at The Refinery Gastro Bar

By Alastair Reid Schanche, January 15, 2021

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The Place 

It can be hard to find a restaurant that pleases everyone. There’s always that fussy friend who just won’t compromise, or a certain craving you need to satisfy despite all odds. The Refinery may be the answer to all these problems. 

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

WechatIMG54.jpegImage by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

Located slap bang in the middle of in Xintiandi, The Refinery doesn’t mess around on the drinks front either. They brew all their own beer locally, and mix from a cocktail list as long as your arm. After holding strong for nearly five years in Shanghai, we understand that they keep guests coming back by being a jack of all trades. 

The Food 

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

Casting an eye down the burger list turns up more than a few items worth considering, and you wouldn’t be blamed for jumping right in with the Krakatoa (RMB118), a bun-topped mountain of beef and Mexican zing.

The Salmon & Avocado Sliders (RMB138) are where it’s at when it comes to starters. Three mini charcoal buns bare the gifts of salmon cakes with Asian slaw and miso mustard, presented with a portion of French fries and their ‘special’ garlic dipping sauce. If you’ve come as a group of four, well, somebody is missing out. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Every meal needs something to further whet the appetite for what’s to come, and if you’re anything like us, the sight of rare beef tenderloin alone is enough to give it a kick start. The freshness of chopped coriander and a drizzle of tangy onion-ponzu sauce make the Beef Tataki (RMB88) wake up your palate like a welcoming zap of electricity. 

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

Feeling like a beast? You could always ignore the recommendation that the Seafood Festival Platter (RMB398) is to be shared between two and tackle it on your own. You certainly won’t regret having the whole teriyaki calamari to yourself... or the seared ocean scallops. You just might decide to share the salmon and crème fraiche dip, prawns or codfish croquettes when you see your friend’s steak come out though, just so long as they promise not to take any of the clams in garlic-basil sauce.

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

The Rib-Eye (RMB598) comes big enough to feed a family of four. Clocking in at 600 grams, the flavorsome Australian 150-day grain-fed beef is served alongside creamy mashed potatoes, three chunks of sweetcorn, grilled broccolini, roasted vine tomatoes and two types of sauce – black truffle and miso chimichurri. If it’s not already clear, the people at The Refinery are on a serious mission to fill you up. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And they don’t hold back on the sides, either. A dish of the Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip (RMB69) brings a touch of the sunny Mediterranean to the table. Thick slices of garlic bread are just asking to be dragged through it. Make sure to get in there while it’s hot and melty. 

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

A portion of the French Fries (RMB45) can also be ordered for anyone that missed out on them when the sliders came around. And as a side dish they come with a generous serving of black truffle aioli – the reason you see them at almost every table. 

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

The desert section is filled with treats that might lead you astray from your new-year-new-waistline ambitions. The Waffle with Fresh Fruit and Ice Cream (60RMB) arrives with scoops of strawberry and vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of strawberry and chocolate sauces and a sprinkling of freeze-dried raspberry flakes that are a magical combination of fluffy and crisp. The fruit on top means the extra indulgence can go down guilt free, right?

The Vibe 

The Refinery is about as gastropub as they come. The lunch deal brings in a steady flow of punters for a leisurely feed and nightfall sees the venue turn into a watering hole, with people sticking around to drink off a long working day followed by a sumptuous dinner and live music every night at 9.30pm. For private functions, they even have additional dining upstairs. 

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

There is something for everyone at The Refinery. Whether it’s drinks, dinner – or both – a date, a catch up with friends or a birthday celebration, if you can’t find something to tick the boxes here, the problem is probably you rather than the place. 

Image by Alastair Reid Schanche/That's

Price: RMB140-250
Who’s Going: The Xintiandi work crew, beer-fueled lunchers, well to-do Chinese with a Western hankering
Good For: Indecisive eaters, big appetites, long lunches 


The Refinery is offering a RMB200 vouchers to five lucky That's Shanghai readers. For your chance to win, simply share this article on your Moments with the caption ‘That’s what I want!,' take a screenshot and send it to our WeChat account (ID: Thats_Shanghai) along with your email address, delivery address and phone number.

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See a listing for The Refinery. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover image by Alastair Reid Schanche.]

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